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September 2016 Newsletter

Team BC 2016 photo for Coaches Week

Two – no, four – no, ALL the thumbs up for Special Olympics BC coaches in National Coaches Week! Photo by Team BC 2016 figure skating Head Coach Elizabeth Roman.

Special Olympics BC Games returning to Kamloops

Special Olympics softball player

We’re delighted to announce that the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games will be coming to Kamloops July 6 to 8 next year! Hot on the heels of the successful 2015 SOBC Winter Games, Kamloops will be the first community to host back-to-back SOBC Winter and Summer Games.

The 2017 Provincial Games will be the largest SOBC Games to date, with almost 1,300 athletes with intellectual disabilities from all parts of the province and the Yukon expected to compete, supported by more than 350 volunteer coaches and mission staff. The Games will feature exciting competition and inspiring displays of sportsmanship in the 11 SOBC summer sports: 5- and 10-pin bowling, athletics, basketball, bocce, golf, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, softball, and swimming.

>> Read more

Counting down to the Sports Celebrities Festival

Special Olympics athlete Frances Collison and Vancouver Canucks Brandon Sutter

Just under two months to go until the Sports Celebrities Festival presented by Silver Wheaton, an inspiring and interactive gala celebrating the power of sport and the human spirit! We’re excited that Special Olympics BC – Creston athlete Frances Collison will be this year’s athlete speaker alongside featured Vancouver Canuck Brandon Sutter (pictured at right).

Now in its 18th year, this popular gala has raised more than $4 million in support of SOBC and the Canucks for Kids Fund. Set to be held on November 21 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, the 2016 SCF will offer opportunities to meet and mingle with SOBC athletes and local sports heroes including the entire Vancouver Canucks roster.

Our sincere thanks to Presenting Sponsor Silver Wheaton, to Major Sponsors Canaccord Genuity and the Macquarie Group Foundation, and to all the sponsors and supporters coming on board to make a difference with this special night.

Ways to get involved:

>> Learn more

Healthy Athletes heads to Burnaby, Cranbrook

Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Screening Day

On Sunday, September 25, Special Olympics BC’s latest Healthy Athletes Screening Day is bringing free health screenings for individuals with intellectual disabilities to Burnaby! Pre-register for this fun event to get in faster, or join us on the day of! Please click here for details.

Open to all individuals with intellectual disabilities, SOBC’s Healthy Athletes Screening Days are fun, free events with lots of healthy giveaways, education, and free screenings.

After the Burnaby event, the next SOBC Healthy Athletes Screening Day will be held in Cranbrook on October 15. Please click here for more info.

The Burnaby event will involve screenings in the areas of Health Promotion, Special Smiles, and Strong Minds, Strong Bodies; the Cranbrook event will have screenings in a range of disciplines including Opening Eyes, where athletes can receive free eyeglasses if they require them or free sunglasses if they do not.

>> Learn more about SOBC’s health programming

Celebrate inclusion and respect on EKS Day and all year round

Play Unified, celebrate inclusion & respect

Saturday, September 24 will be the seventh annual EKS Day, a celebration of the life and legacy of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver and a global call for people to live in a more unified society – in sport, in the community, and in the workplace. By celebrating acts of inclusion, acceptance, and unity for and with people with intellectual disabilities, we will continue to build on Mrs. Shriver’s legacy. Help encourage everyone to get involved with Special Olympics and join the #PlayUnified movement so people with intellectual disabilities are included and respected!

There will be lots on the go here in British Columbia on the weekend of EKS Day, including our Healthy Athletes Screening Day in Burnaby September 25, the SOBC Athletics Performance Camp, the latest NCCP Special Olympics coaching course in Revelstoke (this course in the last weekend of Coaches Week is now full! #ThanksCoach), and SOBC – Kimberley/Cranbrook’s 30th anniversary event and Law Enforcement Torch Run! Please check out our calendar to learn more and help spread the word.

Fall fundraising opportunities with the LETR

Law Enforcement Torch Run Golden

We are excited about some great opportunities to raise funds and awareness this fall with the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run:

  • Join Cranbrook RCMP members and Special Olympics BC athletes for the Cranbrook Torch Run on September 25! This year’s run is part of SOBC – Kimberley/Cranbrook’s 30th anniversary celebration, a fun-filled event featuring a barbecue, sports displays, and registration for SOBC – Kimberley/Cranbrook. Learn more and sign up for the run at sobc.kintera.org/torchrun2016
  • Everyone is welcome to attend the Golden Torch Run on October 15! Hosted by Golden RCMP and SOBC – Golden, this exciting event will be followed by a barbecue by donation. Register and find out more at sobc.kintera.org/torchrun2016
  • Delta Police Department Constable Grayson Smith’s new children’s book There’s a Norseman in the Classroom! teaches kids about inclusion and $2 from the sale of every book will go to benefit SOBC. Pick up a copy at Peppermint Toast Publishing’s website or Amazon.ca.

    >> Read more about the book and its author

Pictured above right: Golden RCMP members and SOBC – Golden athletes are pumped for their Torch Run!

CrossFitters take on marathon workout for Special Olympics

CrossFit24 at RainCity Athletics Vancouver 2015

On October 22, CrossFit gyms across North America will be coming together for a fitness challenge with a difference! CrossFit 24 participants will be pushing themselves to work out for 24 hours straight and raise funds to support Special Olympics athletes through this unique event.

CrossFit and Special Olympics share the spirit of inclusion, universal access to fitness, and pushing yourself beyond the expectations of yourself and those around you. With this in mind Special Olympics and CF|24 have partnered along with Reebok to create this fantastic fundraiser for Special Olympics.

On the day of the event, teams of three will complete one workout every hour on the hour for 24 hours. Options of six- and 12-hour workouts with up to six participants are also available.

If you are a CrossFitter or know CrossFitters, encourage your local gym to get involved! Check out www.cf24.ca or contact Meg Ishida by email or by phone at 604-314-4535 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free for more details.

We thank all of the athletes and volunteers who will be coming out on the day to support and inspire the CF|24 participants! Thanks also to CrossFit Kelowna, CrossFit North Okanagan, CrossFit Prince George, CrossFit Uncivilized, and RainCity Athletics who have already signed up to take on this incredible challenge for Special Olympics!

#ThanksCoach!!

National Coaches Week thanks

In National Coaches Week (September 17 to 25) and all year round, we are so thankful to the Special Olympics BC coaches throughout the province who generously give their time and make a difference with the power of sport!

Be inspired by reading about some of the outstanding award-winning coaches who make SOBC programs possible, including 2016 SOBC Grassroots Coach Award winner Janny Jung of SOBC – Vernon and Howard Carter Award winner Garth Vickers of SOBC – Kelowna. Read more in our monthly coach profile series.

Coaches can catch the NCCP Special Olympics Competition Sport Workshops this fall in the following communities:

This is one of the two courses coaches will need if they have been named to a Regional team moving forward to the 2017 SOBC Summer Games in Kamloops.

BC LETR member wins international award

VPD's Joanne Wild wins John Carion Award

An outstanding supporter of the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics BC, Vancouver Police Department Inspector Joanne Wild has won the international LETR movement’s 2016 John Carion Award. The award honours “unsung heroes” who contribute to the success of the LETR and Special Olympics in spirit, dedication, and enthusiasm. Insp. Wild received the award at the 2016 LETR International Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on September 16.

Through 19 years of involvement with the LETR, Insp. Wild has played a critical role in helping build the movement in B.C. through her tireless efforts to raise funds and awareness and her respectful and inclusive interactions with Special Olympics athletes.

“Joanne is fully committed, always leading the way and participating enthusiastically in successful initiatives within her department to support Special Olympics and the LETR,” BC LETR Provincial Director Rick Lucy said in a letter endorsing Insp. Wild for the John Carion Award. “Spending any time at all around Joanne and Special Olympics BC athletes quickly helps one understand the passion Joanne has for Special Olympics, and that the success and enjoyment of the athletes always comes first.”

>> Read more

Achieving success with functional testing sessions

Functional testing sessions

Special Olympics BC’s functional testing sessions are important because they motivate athletes to lead healthy lifestyles, get off the couch, and feel good about themselves, says SOBC – Castlegar athlete Liam Donnelly.

“It’s such a great program – it can help so many athletes better succeed!” he said.

Functional testing involves exercises that measure fitness and foundational movements, which are used to test an athlete’s fitness level and motivate and guide training. Functional testing also helps athletes track their progress and provides coaches with feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of their training programs.

Functional testing will take place in Quesnel and Cranbrook on October 15, Vernon on October 16, Surrey on November 5, and Vancouver on November 6. Stay tuned for details on our Vancouver Island session.

For more information, or to reserve your spot, please contact James Marchand by email or phone at 604-616-1342 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Pictured above right: Athletes take part in a functional testing session in Vancouver. 

>> Read more

SOBC Board of Directors update

Special Olympics BC logo

Special Olympics BC is very grateful to have outstanding leadership and support from our Board of Directors. We strongly appreciate their contributions and dedication to ensuring the ongoing quality and value of the organization.

At SOBC’s September 2016 AGM, we welcomed a number of Directors into new executive roles, and we are grateful that they have taken on these important leadership positions. Randy Smallwood of Silver Wheaton has been elected as Board Chair, and Ted Hirst of Canaccord Genuity will be moving into the role of Vice Chair. Pamela Keith of Dueck Auto Group is Past Chair, and Money Talks host Michael Campbell and Colin Yakashiro of Grant Thornton are graciously continuing to serve as Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

SOBC is also excited to welcome three new Directors who were elected at the 2016 AGM: Vincent Li, Brent Bergeron, and Eamonn Percy.

>> Read more

Workshops ahead for emerging sports

Inline skating session

With the help of generous support from the Government of Canada, Special Olympics BC is launching new programming to help emerging sports grow around the province. Inline skating is a training tool that can develop balance and abilities applicable to a wide range of sports, and it is one of the techniques being used to help introduce new athletes to sports such as speed skating and figure skating as well as cross country and alpine skiing.

Following the September 22 workshop in Kelowna, upcoming events are being planned in Regions around the province. For more information, please contact Shawn Fevens by email or by phone at 604-737-3055 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Please click here to read about the spring learn-to-skate sessions with inline skating expert Dallas Kurtz.

Good health, great fun with SOBC Fit Families & Friends

Kelowna Fit Families & Friends

With the support of a Golisano Foundation Special Olympics Healthy Communities grant, Special Olympics BC launched new Fit Families & Friends programming in the summer of 2016. The inaugural participants in Prince George, Kelowna, and the Sunshine Coast showed wonderful dedication to being active and healthy together, and they had a blast! Together they walked, ran, and hiked more than 2,100 kilometres this summer.

The vision of Fit Families & Friends is to help athletes stay active over the summer months and encourage their families, friends, and supports to get active with them. At the end of each session, the program volunteer hands out a healthy snack that can be feasible and easily made by the athletes and their supporters. They also receive a recipe card for the snack of the week to take home.

>> Read more

Athletes and coaches work to #elevateperformance

Special Olympics BC athletes and coaches had a great time learning new drills, exercises, and techniques at SOBC’s Speed Skating Performance Camp in Coquitlam on September 10 and 11.

SOBC’s Performance Program is a long-term plan with the goal of enhancing the skills and performance of all coaches and through them, all SOBC athletes. At Performance Program camps, participating athletes and coaches learn new training techniques and skills they can share with their local program, benefiting all athletes.

The 2016-17 sport season will see SOBC athletes and coaches take part in Performance Program camps in all 18 SOBC sports. Upcoming camps include athletics this weekend, swimming in October, and snow sports and curling in December.

>> Read more

Victoria runners or walkers can fundraise for SOBC

GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon logo

Will you be racing to the finish line at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon on October 9? If you’re registered to run/walk in any of the events, you can help raise funds for SOBC or a specific SOBC Local! To get your fundraising started, log in or create your RaceOnline account here. Once you are logged in, click on the “Fundraising” button associated with your Victoria Marathon registration and follow the steps to create your fundraising page for SOBC.

If you’re not able to participate but still want to be part of the fun, come join in as a volunteer and help out in one of the many positions available on race day.

For more information or help with your fundraising, please contact Charlotte Taylor by email or by phone at 604-737-3056 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

SOBC is now on Instagram

Hey Instagrammers: Follow us at @specialolympicsbc for inspiring photos that will brighten your day!

SOBC staff update

Special Olympics social media avatar

Special Olympics BC is excited to welcome Ashten Staffen to our team as Coordinator, Health and Sport Science. Ashten, who started with us on September 19, is a B.C. native with a strong background in health, fitness, exercise physiology, and sport nutrition, and is a certified personal trainer. She has a degree in politics from the University of Northern British Columbia and has worked with the Government of Yukon for the past two years. She has also worked with the City of Yellowknife and the Chamber of Commerce hosting wellness seminars, working with indigenous populations on fitness and nutrition and serving as a keynote speaker in these areas.

Ashten is also the Yukon’s Healthy Athletes Clinical Director for Health Promotions, and has previously worked with SOBC staff at Healthy Athletes events both in Prince George and in the Yukon.

Our fond well wishes go with Morgan Hunter and Charlene Flood, Manager, Community Development for northern B.C., as they are moving on to new adventures, Morgan in Victoria and Charlene in Prince George. Happily, both are staying involved with SOBC, Morgan as a Health and Sport Science Consultant and Charlene as a volunteer with SOBC – Prince George.

SOBC is now hiring a Manager, Community Development, North and Central Interior. Please click here to learn more.